Welcome one & all.
As some of the more attentive of you will know I have been forced into an electric wheelchair, this was not a simple transition I can assure you. I went kicking and screaming but finally had to accept the situation, well as best as can be expected and I don’t think you should expect much in the way of acceptance.
What follows are a series of adventures or simple pleasures, you might have read the wild swimming tale if not then let me assure you that its worth reading. Well dear reader of my musings this is an introduction to running, something I spent a lot of time doing for the simple and all-pervading reason that I could. My intent is simple, its to regale you the reader with some of the funny entertaining or powerful happenings taken in snippets from a segment of my life time spent in outdoor pursuits.
So here goes with a new one for your entertainment and who knows perhaps encouragement to try something new and challenging, though its not a requisite of reading this, you are allowed to sit on the couch and just enjoy.
Take a sunny day, a pleasant few hours of free time and put them to better use. Forget the football, forgo the afternoon snooze, fetch out the ordinance survey map from the draw in which it has lived for ever, and open it. Somewhere near to wherever you are there will be a magical place, a place that can carry you away from your dull afternoon. Look carefully and decide, work out the route and then set out in determination. Take the car, or the bus, or if your destination is near enough walk, and soon you will begin to feel the mounting excitement of adventure.
The simple pleasure starts with a little planning, but once that is done the adventuring commences. It does not matter that you are no Scott of the Arctic, if you tailor your desire to your abilities. Remember you have to take a first step if you are to complete a walk.
Take a simple jog to the corner shop: feel the pounding of the pavement as your feet slap it hard, breath evenly in control, don’t try to set a record, just allow your body to set the pace. Feel your heart rev up, your blood begin to pound, your legs tighten as your muscles carry you forward. A few yards or a mile it does not matter, now each time that you need something from the shop jog there, soon your will feel a new burning deep inside, a rearing up of pride as the distance you cover increases.
Be warned this is an addictive sport: you might not have ever thought of jogging to the corner shop as being a sport, but by setting your mind to doing it, and by building your abilities up slowly you have joined the ranks of the great sportsmen and women of the world. Soon you will find that the pleasure you experience is not quite the same as it was. The challenge has faded as the effort that you are expending becomes less. The adrenalin kick fades until you reach the point that the jog holds no challenge. Now you have to decide, now you have to accept that you need to do more; to run further and for longer if you are to obtain your fix.
Soon the corner shop becomes the target destination, but the route to it changes. Soon you run the block stopping at the shop on the way back, instead of on the way there. Soon even that pleasure and achievement falls to your new capability, and then you need to expand you aims, to set yourself a new challenge, and compete against your own mind and body.
The park soon becomes a lure, not to walk in but to jog, parks have paths and paths will form the route down which your body craves to run. I say craves because by the time you arrive at the park the desire to push yourself will have bloomed, growing from being a simple aim, started as a test which becomes transformed into a desire that burns in your mind. The route will challenge you, and so you will respond. Set off slowly, treat the route you have chosen as being nothing more than your trip to the corner shop had been.
Sadly once you run the route it gets easier every time, and so again the challenge fades the simple pleasure recedes. Now seek out something different, find a new challenge, canals mostly have tow-paths these can be ideal to run. Take out your map and discover where offers you the opportunity you seek and the chance to face the latest challenge.
To become a runner takes only the first few steps, the rest will come in time and with dedication through such you will have changed your life, and discovered a completely new form of relaxation.
Challenges abound for the newly converted runner: there is the 5 K run for charity, not only do you get the pleasure of running the distance, but you do it in the company of others; some are better than you, others much worse or earlier on the road to distance running. Then there is 10 K, harder, more demanding, but soon to be conquered, and all offer the pleasure of raising money for charities, whilst enjoying the sheer breath taking pleasure of exertion.
Mostly the routes chosen for such events offer the runners taking part a wide variety of interesting sights. Natural and man made, and always they offer a deep seated feeling of wellbeing and of having achieved something spectacular. Your age matters not one whit to the road, you ability is of no concern, the road does not want to test you or to challenge you, all it wants is that you visit it on occasion, and enjoy it whenever you do. Soon your friends will have come to believe that you have lost your mind, but soon they will see a new, fitter, you; one that enjoys your life in ways that they cannot begin to imagine or understand , they will wonder at the new you and question themselves, your challenges will tinker in some of their minds. Soon you might even find that one or two of them make tentative approaches to join you, remember that you are further along the road than they are, so expect less of them than you do of yourself.
The half-marathon leaps out to grasp you with its offer of a new challenge, a different feel and a worthy opponent to your abilities. Take the challenge, run the route and enjoy doing so. Finally there is the full marathon. This is the target, the main challenge, the goal to out distance everything you have ever done before.
Be brave, you will one day be ready and able to attempt this run, set your mind into gear, juice up you spirit and join the endeavour. You may fail your first marathon, but no matter how far you have run you have not failed, because you have entered the ranks of the marathon runner, and one day you will pass the post and the joy will swamp out everything for you.
This is usually the point that runners take up fell running or hill scrambling or any other number of challenges this is the point that you have become addicted enjoy it.
This is the point that when you look back at your old self, you will not recognise who you were when compared to who you are now. One of life’s simple pleasures,:- Running.
I will be posting more running experiences over the coming months via twitter. So why not joine me reading these tails is the starting point who knows where you will go from there on
May your god/s go with you.